6 Proven Tactics to Build Limited Time Offers that Convert [With Examples]

6 Proven Tactics to Build Limited Time Offers that Convert [With Examples]
Artem Tiulnikov
Artem Tiulnikov Jan 30, 2020 — 7 min read
💥 Join 5K subscribers

We’re all familiar with the excitement of getting a bargain. It just feels good to grab that limited time offer while it lasts! That’s how we’re hard-wired to think.

And guess what? Most companies know that. They actively use the power of daily deals and clearances to boost sales year-round.

Want to know how? Keep reading this post to find out.

Below, we’ll review 10 limited time offer examples, talk about the best practices, and explain why they work. By the end of the article, you’ll have plenty of ideas for your next sale.

Why limited time offers work so well

Limited offers outperform regular ones. Period. But that’s not news. Hubspot found that out way back in 2012 and their findings are still relevant.

The driving force of short-term sales is the combination of exclusivity, urgency, and scarcity.

Based on these principles, limited-time offer wording usually features:

  • Time restriction (“Today only!”, “Valid through”, “Ends tomorrow”, “Last day!”)

  • Supply restriction (“While supplies last!”, “Limited quantities”, “Get them before they’re gone”)

Depending on your business niche, you can use either of these or even both. For instance, Black Friday is one of those days when both types of restrictions are relevant due to the huge volume of sales happening in 24 hours.

Chic moeY highlights its limited-time Black Friday sale

But it’s not just the wording you can play with when crafting a limited-time offer. You can also use different approaches and add variety to your promo campaigns.

Here are 6 techniques you’ll read about below:

  1. Countdown timer

  2. Category sale

  3. Sitewide sale

  4. Flash sale

  5. Seasonal clearance

  6. First-time purchase

We’re going to provide examples for each category and break them down to see why each tactic works.

1. Limited time offers paired with countdown timer

As the name of the category implies, these are limited time offers that have a countdown timer to them.

Countdown timers urge visitors to act fast and expose them to the fear of missing out.

Let’s see that in action.

Best Buy, a consumer electronics retailer, features its 24-hour deal of the day in the dedicated section at the top of the website next to the timer. And because this is an eye-catching sitewide announcement, every website visitor is guaranteed to notice it.

Best Buy features its deal of the day and adds a countdown timer to the promotion

The countdown timer creates an irresistible desire to add the product to cart, especially when the deal is paired with the “Limited quantities” note. But there is more behind it.

If you’ve heard of Best Buy, you know they have thousands of items in store. What are the chances that these 2 Google Nest Hubs will make it into the deal of the day again, and just for $99.99? Right, the chances are low. And that’s why you have to get the product now if you’re interested.

A countdown timer may be able to boost conversions from 3.5% to 10%, according to WordStream.

Another great example of countdown timers is brought by Blue Apron, a meal kit subscription service.

Blue Apron catches a leaving visitor’s attention with a modal limited time offer popup that has a countdown timer

To announce the offer, they use a so-called exit-intent popup. It displays right when a website visitor is about to leave and suggests acting fast to grab a $50 coupon. If you agree to accept the offer, you’re prompted to create an account with the discount already applied.

With Blue Apron, you’re really pressed for time. Unlike Best Buy, they take urgency to the next level and only give you 30 minutes to take action. So you better be quick if you want to secure that sweet deal.

Want a similar exit-intent popup for your website? Just hit the “See live preview” button below and use this template to create your own modal widget. Adjust copy, design and follow simple instructions to add it to your website.

2. Limited-time sale for product category

If you have multiple product categories on your website and you want to promote specific product types, start a category sale.

Limited-time offers on selected categories is a great way to give the slow-moving stock a little boost.

Let’s consider the Top Deals section of Bed Bath & Beyond, one of the biggest domestic merchandise stores.

Bed Bath & Beyond showcases its limited time deals sorted into categories

There is a unique promo offer for each product category, with urgency and scarcity in the way. Some of them imply limited inventory, while others are valid for a short period of time. The idea is that these select top deals will get you the most value for your money if you make haste.

So, if you’re after these up to $120 off select vacuums, don’t dilly-dally too much because the offer may be gone any minute.

3. Sitewide sales

If promoting select categories is not relevant in your case, a limited-time sitewide sale might be a good idea. Here's Tobi, a fast-fashion retail store for women, announcing its 50% off sitewide deal.

Tobi brings forth a huge sitewide limited time offer on landing

Notice that their offer takes the entire landing page — it’s literally the first thing you see when you open the website.

Limited time offers promoted sitewide will help you convert more first-time visitors into customers.

Groupon, a global e-commerce marketplace, is also promoting a sitewide sale that’s worth checking out.

Groupon introduces visitors to a sitewide sale, featuring stackable discounts

To make the deal more attractive, they specify the categories participating in the sale. By doing that, Groupon increases the chances that more visitors will see a relevant category and decide to take advantage of the offer.

If you’re wondering about the easiest way to promote a sitewide sale, floating bars at the top or bottom of a page work best. To create one, you can use the Getsitecontrol app. It allows for compiling any online form or a popup for your website. Just create an account, pick a template, and be sure to use the right colors to make the offer pop.

4. Flash sales

When you run a flash sale, you greatly drop prices for select products for a very short period of time.

Flash deals push visitors to impulse buy your products and help you sell your surplus stock.

This is how iHerb, an online supplement store, goes about it.

iHerb draws visitors’ attention to its flash sale coupled with other offers

There are always multiple offers running on the iHerb website, but we’re here to look into their flash sale.

Not only do they use the time limit and the limited quantity, but iHerb also adds an indicator showing how many discounted products have been claimed.

Placed right below the product, the green bar starts filling up as customers make purchases. That bar telegraphs that the product is in demand and you have to be quick if you’re intending to get it.

There’s another flash sale example brought to us by JackRabbit, a one-stop-shop for everything runners need.

JackRabbit goes for a flash sale and makes it very convenient to navigate through discounted items

JackRabbit has so many products on sale, there is a dedicated page for you to sort and filter discounted products and categories. It ensures convenience when browsing items and increases the chances that the visitor will quickly find what they need and make the purchase.

5. Seasonal clearance

A seasonal clearance is a sale held only several times a year and anticipated by the customers. The infrequent nature of these sales excites customers and makes them wait for another seasonal sale to come.

A seasonal sale is an excellent opportunity to promote limited time offers year-round.

Target, one of the largest retailers in the United States, knows that better than anyone else.

Target announces its seasonal sale, instilling a sense of urgency into customers

They call their seasonal clearance “dash” as if it were a sporting competition, where customers race against each other and dash to checkout before it’s too late. Only the fastest will be victorious, and they’ll be rewarded with the best deals.

Target is a great example of how the right colors and the right copy used to announce limited time offers can make a difference.

Faherty Brand, a clothing and lifestyle brand, is running a winter sale and promotes it with their website color matching floating bar at the top.

Faherty Brand shows its winter steal announcement bar

It may be less catchy than some of the examples above, but it doesn’t mean it’s less efficient.

The clickable light-brown announcement bar at the top of the webpage is always in view and remains visible regardless of where you click on the website. And the copy, as simplistic and concise as it is, gives visitors a good idea of what to expect.

6. First-time purchase discount

Did you know that around 80% of shoppers feel positive about buying from a new brand when given a solid offer? In other words, a special discount targeting first-time shoppers may nudge them into becoming lifetime customers.

As a rule, it’s more difficult (and expensive) to sell something to newcomers rather than to your existing customers. So, using limited-time offers aimed exclusively at those who hear about your brand for the first time is a strategy worth trying.

Look at how thredUP, a second-hand clothes store uses this tactic combined with a sense of urgency.

ThreadUP offers limited time discounts to its first-time customers

The best part here?

The thredUP team kills two birds with one stone. This limited-time offer popup appears a couple of seconds after a first-time visitor lands on their website, and it helps the company build their email list, too.

As new shoppers become subscribers, the brand can maintain engagement by sending new offers and promotions via email. Great job, thredUP!

If you like this strategy, you can do just that with the Getsitecontrol limited-time offer popup:

Click the “See live preview” button above to customize this template and add it to your website within minutes.

Time to create your own limited time offers

Now that you’ve read through 6 types of limited time offers, learned what they’re good for, and what makes each of them work, go ahead and recreate one of them on your website.

Remember, there is no need to create a dedicated landing page to announce a new promo. If you want to implement it quickly, you can do it without a developer. Just use catchy no-code widgets by Getsitecontrol.

The app helps you quickly add floating bars and popups announcing the sale to selected pages or sitewide. For instance, you’ll be able to create an exit-intent popup like the one used by Blue Apron, place a sticky promo bar at the top of a webpage, and even add an email capture field if you want to collect email addresses like thredUP.

Feel free to use our ready-made live preview widgets introduced earlier in this post. Alter them however you like and follow simple steps to add them to your website.

To learn more about how to design your popups and how to craft copy that converts, check out the articles in the recommended section below.

Tips for your marketing strategy